First Fifty Pages Novel Critique

Comprehensive critique of your book's first 50 pages

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When it comes to selling your novel, first impressions are crucial. Most agents and publishers will make a decision on whether or not to keep reading your manuscript within the first chapter or two. If they make it all the way to page 50, you already have a huge advantage.

Too often, writers miss the opportunity to land an agent or a publishing deal by making mistakes in the first few chapters.

The First 50 Pages Critique can increase your chances of success by helping you to:

  • Identify the most interesting part of your story
  • Hook the reader with an intriguing scene that introduces character and conflict
  • Establish a strong and distinctive voice
  • Establish urgency
  • Ground the reader in place and time
  • Show why this particular story is being told at this particular time
  • Make the stakes clear
  • Punch up the dialogue
  • Answer the crucial question, "Whose story is this?"
  • Avoid formatting and grammatical errors
  • Streamline your writing

  • With the First Fifty Pages critique, you'll discover what works in the opening chapters, what doesn't, and how to improve the style, structure, and plot of the opening scenes to give your book the best chance of success.

    What to Know

    • Submit your manuscript* as a Word file.
    • Word count: up to 12,500 words
    • The turnaround time for the critique is two weeks.
    • Your critique will be delivered by email. It will include at least two single-spaced pages of written comments, plus in-line editorial notes.
    • You can email me to request clarification on my comments.

    Every novel presents its own challenges, and the issues I focus on in your novel will be determined by the needs that arise as I read your manuscript. However, here are some of the things we might address:

    • Increase urgency
    • Tighten structure
    • Improve dialogue
    • Deepen characterization
    • Streamline descriptions
    • Find the heart of your story
    • Crystallize the book’s theme

    Who will benefit from the First 50 Pages Critique?

    • You have completed a manuscript and want to begin querying agents.
    • You have queried agents and have received a response requesting a full or partial manuscript.
    • You have a novel-in-progress, and you need professional feedback to make sure you're on the right track.

    *A manuscript page is double-spaced in a standard 12 point font or higher, with 1" margins on each side. This critique is for up to 12,500 words.

    Returning Students discount:

    Students who have completed or are enrolled in Novel in 9 or Novel in 5 receive a 15% discount. Please contact me for your discount code, or use the code in your current course materials.

    Your Instructor

    Michelle Richmond
    Michelle Richmond

    Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels and two award-winning story collections. Her books have been published in 30 languages. She has taught in the Masters of Fine Arts programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary's College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University. She has also designed and taught novel writing courses online for Stanford Continuing Studies. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.

    Course Curriculum

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long do I have to send you my manuscript?
    Take as long as you need.
    Are refunds available?
    If you change your mind before you send me your manuscript, you'll receive full refund minus the nonrefundable $20 transaction fee Teachable charges me. However, no refunds are available after I have received your manuscript.

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